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Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!
While I do live in the Denver Metro Area, I always keep my senses ready to pick up on signs of wildlife. I grew up in the mountains and I have journals filled with entries that amount to lists of the animals I saw that day, consisting mostly of elk, deer. coyotes, hawks, etc, including details numbers of each and occasionally behaviors. While I don't keep a journal like that any more, below are some of the animals I've seen at my house or in the area. Each sighting is a special slice of my day and I cherish any reconnection to nature.
There are red tailed hawks nesting, again, in the tree two houses down from my backyard. They swoop through the neighborhood after small animals, birds and I worry about my cats and chickens.
Great horned owls nest and live year round in the wetlands half a mile down the street. Some years we find their nest and get to watch the owlets go form puffballs to adult-sized clumsy branchings. Some days, we can get them hooting and their cries are like morning doves but somehow completely different.
Mice skitter away from the chicken coop when I close it up at night. They have occasionally found their way inside where my older cats are too lazy to actually catch them and they must be caught other ways.
Twice, I've seen bald eagles fly by my house and it's not uncommon for me to see them flying overhead on my way to work in the winter. They hang out at Cherry Creek Reservoir where there is usually open water and fishing is possible.
Deer have crossed the campus at school several times during the winter and we've been lucky enough to see them or their tracks.
Coyotes live at the wetlands near my house and near my school. I always watch for their lanky profiles and alert posture.
There are cottontail rabbits everywhere and I am using them to teach my five year-old daughter how to stalk animals. She's gotten within five feet a couple of times before bolting away in sprint snap hops.
I have glimpsed several red foxes crossing streets while driving home, usually in the snow, at night, and coming back from a performance downtown.
Hawks seems to be everywhere as well and the Swanson's hawks are especially prolific and have migrated back north already. They sit like sentinels on lamp posts and once it warms up, I often see them carrying snakes, hanging limply in their talons.
Connecting to nature is important for me and while I live in the city now, I'm always thrilled for my moments with wildlife.